How do hot and cold therapies work?
Exactly how hot should your sauna be?
What are the benefits of dry vs. infrared saunas?
Is there anything you can use to heat up your body or enhance detoxification more during the use of heat?
How about how cold a cold shower or cold bath should be?
What kind of hacks increase fat loss in response to cold thermogenesis?
Does cryotherapy really “blunt the effects of exercise?”
In this extremely comprehensive overview of all things heat, hyperthermia, sauna, cold, cryotherapy, and cold thermogenesis, you’ll discover everything you need to know about enhancing performance, cognition, fat loss, cellular resilience, detoxification, anti-aging, and much, much more. You can consider this podcast to be your ultimate resource on all things hot and cold therapy.
In this special “solosode” from Ben, you’ll discover:
-How Ben got started using hot and cold therapy…6:25
- Grew up in northern Idaho, where he was homeschooled
- Spent lots of time outdoors and reading books as a child
- Played tennis in college at the University of Idaho
- Became interested in biomechanics and bodybuilding, managed wellness facility
- Sauna used to help maintain weight as a bodybuilder
- Sweat, blood, tears, creatine, protein shakes, caffeine – Ben’s “stack” in college
- Competed in Ironmans for 10-12 years
- Used cold thermogenesis before fully understanding the benefits of it
-Ben’s sadistic foray into hyperthermia…10:40
- Hyperthermia is increasing in popularity for getting rid of disease, pathogens, etc.
- Hyperthermia chamber used to treat cancer at the Swiss Mountain Clinic
- Inducing a fever
- Common treatment is ~3 hours
- Ben eventually “tapped out” due to the level of discomfort
- Article: Hyperthermia in Cancer Treatment
-The endurance benefits of heat…15:15
- Lower resting heart rate by increasing blood volume
- Sauna sessions give a similar effect to the banned drug erythropoietin
- Optimize blood flow to the heart, skin, etc.
- Get in the sauna after an exercise session to get the effect
- Glycogen-sparing effect:
- Allows your body to more efficiently hold on to carbohydrates during exercise
- Burn more fat as fuel during exercise
- Studies (here and here) in hyperthermic conditioning in athletes show that muscle glycogen usage is reduced by 40~50% compared to before heat acclimatization, due to increased blood flow and glucose delivery to the muscles
- Improves thermoregulatory control (body is more efficient at cooling itself)
- Less lactic acid in the muscles when involved in regular sauna practice
- Article: Effect of post-exercise sauna bathing on the endurance performance of competitive male runners.
-Muscular benefits of heat…19:00
- Increased muscle hypertrophy (size rather than number of cells)
- Increases net muscle protein synthesis
- Sauna use while rehabbing an injury to maintain muscle
- Delay muscle atrophy
- Mitochondria more readily able to meet the energetic demands of muscle cells (oxidative phosphorylation)
- Increases overall cellular resilience (hormetic stressor)
- Massive release of IGF-1
- Activate mTOR pathway
- Inhibit FOXO activation which can inhibit muscle degradation
- Increase in insulin sensitivity; decreases muscle protein catabolism
- GLUT4 transports glucose into skeletal muscle from the bloodstream
- Want to maintain a hypertrophic state of the injured muscle
- Studies and articles:
-Longevity benefits of heat…26:45
- Brief exposure to heat treatment increases the lifespan of flies and worms by up to 15%
- Hormetic response that increases heat shock proteins is associated with longevity
- Protects DNA, inhibits telomere shortening
-How heat (or leaving heat) promotes brain health…27:35
- Sauna-induced hyperthermia activates HPA axis and sympathetic nervous system
- Increase in epinephrine
- Increase in blood flow or blood glucose
- Increase in prolactin
- Increase in cortisol
- Getting out of the sauna makes it drop
- Similar to brief bouts of exercise
- Promotes myelin growth
- Norepinephrine levels are stimulated
- Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is significantly affected by heat
- BDNF ameliorates depression
- Increase resilience to stress
- Beta-endorphin gives the “feel good” effect when you leave the sauna
- Dynorphin peptide (gives the “runners high”)
- Exercising in the heat becomes much easier
- Studies and articles:
-Tips and tricks to enhance your sauna experience…35:25
-How cold affects the brain…43:00
- Release of norepinephrine in the bloodstream (hormone and neurotransmitter that affects alertness, mood, etc.)
- Combats ADHD, depression (norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are prescribed to depression patients)
- A recent study saw a decrease in the risk of depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s in people who regularly swim in cold water
- Increase in focus, energy, better mood, etc. as you warm up from the cold
- 1 hour of cold water submersion (57 °F) increases norepinephrine by 500%, dopamine by 250%
- 40 degrees at 20 seconds still gives significant increases in norepinephrine (quick dips in the cold pool)
- Morozko Forge (use code BENFORGE to save $150)
- Synapses in the neurons break down in the cold; however, they regenerate when it warms up
- RBM3 (cold shock protein)
- Neurosurgeons use cold in their practice to increase the repair of synapses
- Article by Dr. Rhonda Patrick: Cold Shocking the Body
-Inflammation and immune system benefits of cold…49:50
- Norepinephrine that’s released inhibits many inflammatory pathways (TNF-α)
- Also decreases macrophage inflammatory proteins (MIP-1), produced by immune cells, and can cause arthritis and other inflammatory-related conditions
- Improves the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB)
- Doubles glutathione reductase, increases superoxide dismutase
- Inhibits collagenase activity
- Decreased pain response to injury
-The effects of cold on aging…53:15
- Aging causes the production of immunosenescence
- Increased lymphocyte numbers (white blood cells)
- T-killer cells decrease naturally with age
- Thymosin-α 1 peptide
-Cold’s effects on fat loss…54:20
-Performance and recovery…58:25
- Pro-inflammatory cytokines activated right after exercise (exercise-induced inflammation)
- Macrophages released are associated with muscular atrophy you get with strength training
- Extreme cold immediately after exercise may not be advisable
- 15 minutes exposure to 50 °F after running can increase PGC1-α (mitochondrial biogenesis)
- Timing and dosing are key:
- Allow body time to produce inflammatory response
- Save the 10-minute ice bath for 2 hours after exercise
- Cryotherapy after tennis practice
-Tips and tricks to enhance cold thermogenesis…1:03:45
-And much more!
Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.
Resources from this episode:
– Podcasts and articles:
– Food & Supplements:
- Getting rid of disease:
- Endurance benefits:
- Muscular benefits:
- Brain health:
– Other resources:
–Kion Colostrum: With winter in full swing and the gut-busting holidays approaching, it’s a great time to start taking colostrum as insurance. You can get Kion Colostrum and save 20% off your first order when you use my link.
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Got a question for me about hot and cold therapy? Leave a comment below, and I’ll reply!